I’ve been kind of off the blogging grid lately. I’ve been reflecting a lot on this idea of inspiration and what my blog actually does vs. how self indulgent it is. I don’t ever want it to become too much of a diary. I’m just one person in this great big world, struggling just like everyone else is. Though sometimes I might feel very very different, I’m really not. We all have things that make us different and we all have struggles. So I don’t really want the purpose of this blog ever to be Jackie’s Venting Space. I want it to be somewhere people can come to read a story that somehow resonates them. A place that highlights people and causes that deserve to be talked about. A place for people to feel like they’re not alone.
I think I’ve gotten a little too high off of what’s being called “inspiration porn” over the years. That constant barrage of positive, uplifting memes or blog posts that come across my social media feed on pretty much a daily basis. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those…some days that’s just what I need to see or read. But I think we’re all putting undue pressure on ourselves with this stuff. Pressure to be inspiring or positive all the time and then beating ourselves up when we have a day that we don’t feel that way or have a day where we don’t want to look at all of those memes. It started for me, to become this goal to seek being positive and inspirational all the time and let’s be honest folks, that’s just not real life.
So I’m trying to figure out where this blog, a blog with the word “inspiration” in the title, will fit in all of that. I never want it to be something that puts pressure on people to be positive all the time because let me tell you, I certainly am not, no matter what it might seem like from what I write here. That being said, there have been 3 very important things that came into my life recently that have in fact, inspired me, and have caused me to step back and look at myself and my life in a whole new way.
- Tyler Glenn’s album “Excommunication” – This is Tyler’s first solo album and it is so intensely personal but at the same so very relatable. He’s really speaking to all of us who have ever struggled with who we are, who are trying to find our place in the world and who society deems to be different. You don’t have to be a former member of the Mormon church or gay to relate to what he sings about so passionately. My favorite track on the album was the second single he released which is called “Shameless.” It really hit me right where I needed it to start my living my life with less fear. To stop worrying so much about what people think of me, even in ways outside of my MD. To stop apologizing for myself and being afraid to speak up. To not feel bad about not being perfect. To embrace my inner bitch. To get to a point to be able to echo his words…”I live a life so shameless”.
2. The amazing book shown above – The title may make some cringe or gasp. It certainly caught my attention on Amazon and there’s no shortage of the use of “fuck” in the book. But as someone who swears like a sailor myself, that obviously wasn’t going to be an issue. Once you get passed the title though, this book is an incredibly insightful and profound book. I’ve shied away from the self-help stuff in recent years because I felt like I was putting too much pressure on myself to be perfect but this one came at a time when I really needed it. It’s taught me that it’s ok to not feel positive all the time. It’s shown me that I’ve been playing the victim my whole life and letting every little thing that goes wrong be added to the pile of the things life has wronged me with. It seems simple…we’re all struggling. I know that. But this book puts it in such a way that it really struck a cord. And the great thing about is, unlike many other books and inspiration porn that I’ve read, I’m not putting the same pressure on myself anymore to enact everything in the book 100% and do it perfectly for the rest of my life once I finish reading the last page. In the past, that’s exactly what I would have done. I think I have a deeper understanding now that that’s just not feasible and that it’s even ok. I’m learning what things are worth putting my energy towards and what’s not. I find myself giving much less of a “fuck” about stupid, trivial things and focusing much more on what should and does matter to me.
3. “A Brave Heart” – I’ve been following Lizzie for a long time on social media and was thrilled when Lifetime finally decided to air her documentary. If you haven’t heard her story, I highly suggest you listen to her TEDTalk and watch this if you get a chance. Lizzie is the true definition of brave. Not because she was born with an extremely rare and for a long time, undiagnosed, condition, but because of what she chose to do with that. She took all the bullying she endured for years (both in person and online) and has turned it into doing such good work on behalf of everyone who has ever been bullied, even going so far as visiting Washington, D.C. to try and get anti-bullying legislation passed. Lizzie is the true definition of someone who didn’t let her physical circumstances define her. The message I got from her documentary very much tied in with Tyler’s album and with the book I’m reading. She has every right to ask “why me?” about her circumstances but instead has chosen not to play the victim and to turn all of the hate that has been directed at her into fuel for making a difference in the lives of countless others.